UPDATED: Isko Moreno Promises a Manila-Led Pride March in 2020

"See you po next year," the mayor-elect said.

(SPOT.ph) His term may haven't officially started, but Manila's mayor-elect Isko Moreno is all set to start a huge change in the Philippines' capital city. He vowed that he will be retaining Arroceros Forest Park, developing Binondo and Ermita, and pushing Manila Bay reclamation to the bottom of his priority list. On the first day of Pride Month, he went all out and promised his constituents for the return of a Pride March in Manila in 2020.

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"Pagmamahal sa isa't isa ang magpapanalo sa ating malayang diwa. Ngayong buwan ng Hunyo, ating itaas ang banderang bahaghari! Kabilang sa mga hangarin ko sa ating mahal na lungsod kapag opisyal nang nag-umpisa ang aking termino ay ang pagkakaroon ng mas pantay-pantay na pagtrato," Moreno's post on Facebook started, which has since earned more than 300 shares (as of writing). He said that he won't forget to push for a Manila-led Pride March and Festival next year.

Before the Metro Manila Pride March was held for three consecutive years in Marikina (since 2017), Manila—particularly Malate—was one of the regular venues of the annual event. It takes after the global commemoration of the Stonewall Riots in New York City on June 28, 1969, a significant moment in modern LGBTQ+ social movement. Police raids on gay-frequented establishments like Stonewall were common. But on that night in June, the patrons—mostly people of color, transgender women, and drag queens—fought back.

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Metropolitan Community Church - Manila (now Open Table MCC) and Pro-Gay Philippines led the first Pride March in Southeast Asia. Metropolitan Community Church

In the Philippines, the 1990s saw an emergence of LGBTQ+ organizations. The first Pride March was held on June 26, 1994 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle through the efforts of ProGay Philippines and the Metropolitan Community Church. More than a Stonewall remembrance, the march was a protest against the imposition of Value Added Tax. With this, the Philippines gained the distinction of being the first country in Asia and the Pacific to host a Pride-related parade. In 1999, Task Force Pride was established as the official convenor of the annual community-driven Metro Manila Pride March.

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Metro Manila Pride March 2015 was held around the Luneta Park in Manila.
PHOTO BY Christa I. De La Cruz

The Metro Manila Pride March was eventually moved to December 2003 to coincide with other important dates in the LGBTQ+ calendar: World AIDS Day (December 1), National Lesbian Day (December 8), and International Human Rights Day (December 10). The Pride March then became Pride Season, a six-month long celebration of pride and diversity. Then in 2015, the March was moved back to June—to jumpstart the half-a-year event.

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Should the mayor-elect's plans push through, Manila would be following Quezon City's footsteps in having its own Pride March outside the Metro Manila Pride March.

"You were born this way, baby!," Moreno punctuated his Pride Month post, reinforcing his support to the LGBT community.

UPDATE (June 19, 4 p.m.): In an interview with MB Life, Moreno confirmed that Manila City is having its own Pride March, separate from the existing Metro Manila Pride March. "We are going to prepare. We’ll look at what happened in New York, in Amsterdam, and in San Francisco and we’ll pick it up from there," the mayor said. He's also looking into including members of the LGBTQ+ community in "policy-making, governance, and so on."

The Metro Manila Pride March 2020 is on June 29 at the Marikina Sports Center, Marikina City. For more information, follow Metro Manila Pride on Facebook.

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